MustGrow Reports Successful Banana Field Trials in Colombia; Program Transitions to Sumitomo Corporation

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  • Field data confirmed reduced incidence and severity of Fusarium wilt TR4 symptoms in banana plants after application of MustGrow’s product.
  • No damage or phytotoxic effects on banana plants, even at higher dose rates.
  • Colombia banana program transitions to Sumitomo Corporation.
  • Sumitomo Corporation to drive project and field development, as well as regulatory work necessary for commercialization.

10 November 2021, Canada: MustGrow Biologics Corp. is pleased to announce the success of its initial field trial program in Colombia.  Field testing confirmed the efficacy of MustGrow’s mustard plant-derived biopesticide in treating the disease Fusarium wilt TR4 – a unique feat MustGrow believes no other agri-science team has achieved.  Fusarium wilt TR4 (often referred to as the Panama Disease) is a devastating pathogen ravaging the $25 billion global banana industry

Positive Dose Response in Field

  • After application of MustGrow’s mustard-based biopesticide, TerraMG, field data confirmed reduced incidence and severity of Fusarium wilt TR4 symptoms in banana plants after 21 days.
  • Importantly, even at higher application rates there was no damage or phytotoxic effects to the banana plants, allowing MustGrow to explore treating the banana plants directly, in addition to soil applications.
  • Data confirmed a reduced concentration in colony-forming units (CFU*) per gram of soil 21 days after application. There is a strong correlation between the level of CFU in soil and disease severity.

* A colony-forming unit (CFU) is a microbiology unit used to estimate the number of viable (the ability to multiply) bacteria or fungal cells in a sample.

 Sumitomo Corporation (TYO: 8053) (OTC: SSUMY) will now drive field development work including dose rates, application frequency, application methods, and the regulatory work necessary for commercialization.  On August 4, 2021, MustGrow announced an Exclusive Evaluation and Option Agreement with Sumitomo Corporation to evaluate MustGrow’s technology for the purpose of determining efficacy and commercial potential. Sumitomo Corporation has exclusive option rights to MustGrow’s technology for preplant soil fumigation, bioherbicide, and postharvest and food preservation for potatoes and bananas in North, Central, and South America.

MustGrow’s cumulative laboratory and field work has reaffirmed its approach to accelerate further development work with Sumitomo Corporation while simultaneously pursuing a potential “fast-track” product approval in Colombia.  Additionally, MustGrow believes its work in Colombia will serve as a beachhead to expand into other leading banana producing countries. 

 MustGrow COO Colin Bletsky commented, “We now have field data showing efficacy with a clear path forward with Sumitomo Corporation.  We are proud to be a leading agri-science team to not only show treatment of Fusarium wilt TR4 in lab, but to do so in infected fields in Colombia.  We are very excited to see the continued development and potential expansion to other major banana growing regions.”

Fusarium wilt TR4

Fusarium wilt TR4 is the world’s most destructive banana disease, affecting particularly Cavendish bananas, which comprise half of global banana production.  Currently, there are no effective treatments for infected banana plantations, with the disease remaining viable in soil for decades and can cause 100% yield loss.  The spread of Fusarium wilt TR4 through banana plantations in South America has prompted Colombia to reportedly declare a National State of Emergency, enacting special measures to stop the disease from spreading, including the preventive eradication of infected plantations.

Sumitomo Corporation (www.sumitomocorp.com/en/jp) is a diversified corporation and one of the world’s largest general trading companies.  Sumitomo Corporation is listed on three Japanese stock exchanges (Tokyo, Nagoya and Fukuoka under the symbol “8053”) and is a constituent of the TOPIX and Nikkei 225 stock indices.  For the year ended March 31, 2021, Sumitomo Corporation had US$41.8 billion in annual revenue, US$5.4 billion of cash and cash equivalents and 957 consolidated subsidiaries & associated companies.

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